Today was spent in Cayenne — the capital of French Guiana, where most of the hotels are located, and Kourou — home of ESA’a Centre Spatial Guianaise. We climbed up a nearby peak for a look over the Spaceport, but mostly we saw hand-sized spiders and a hazy view of what some very large if indistinct structures.
Closer up, we (about a hundred scientists, obviously more than the ESA staff were used to) got a tour of the facilities, starting in the “Jupiter II” control room where the launch will actually be, um, controlled:
We also saw the launch sites for the Vega and Soyuz rockets, and of course for our own Ariane 5:
But better will be tomorrow, when we get to see the rocket — our rocket — rolled the few kilometers from its current building to the pad in preparation for Thursday’s (hoped-for) launch.